Oxford | The city that shaped the English language

Oxford - the city that shaped the English language

When we think of Oxford, the world-renowned university often comes to mind. However, this city in the South East of the UK is much more than an academic powerhouse. Oxford boasts a rich cultural heritage and is home to some of the world’s most innovative companies. Key sectors include life sciences, energy, robotics and AI, and creative and digital industries.

Economic Vibrancy

Oxfordshire has one of the UK’s most robust economies, contributing £23 billion GVA in real terms and growing at an impressive 3.9% annually since 2006. Ranked 8th among the top 50 UK cities for GVA, Oxford supports a population of approximately 678,000 people [1]. The city is thriving in sectors such as life sciences, energy, robotics and AI, future mobility, space-led data applications, creative and digital, quantum computing, and cryogenics.

Strategic Infrastructure Investment

Since 2014, the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) has secured over £107.5 million to transform local businesses and communities. Oxford has also received £9 million for infrastructure schemes and an additional £8.4 million from the Government’s Getting Building Fund in 2020. Projects such as the Oxford East-West Rail link aim to connect Oxford with Cambridge by the end of the decade, further enhancing the city’s connectivity. [2]

Education and Innovation

Oxford is home to the University of Oxford, the world’s top-performing university, and Oxford Brookes University, a leading young university known for its teaching and research excellence. 

The region has the highest density of university spin-out companies in the country, with the University of Oxford generating more spin-outs than any other UK university.

Championing Sustainability

In January 2019, Oxford declared a climate emergency and was the first UK city to hold a Citizen’s Assembly on Climate Change. Oxford aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions across the city by 2040, ten years ahead of the UK Government’s target. The Oxfordshire Strategic Environmental Economic Investment Plan (SEEIP) provides direction on environmental investment up to the year 2030. [3]

Innovation Hub for Entrepreneurs

Oxfordshire’s high concentration of technology-based companies drives global innovation. The region hosts 31,000 VAT-registered businesses, many of which are tech leaders. [4]

In 2022, Startups.co.uk reported that Oxfordshire has a business survival rate of 44%. This is no mean feat because no region goes above 45%. For example, London’s rate is 39%. [5]

Oxford Entrepreneurs, founded in 2002, is the largest entrepreneurship society in Europe, with alumni startups valued at over US$3 billion. Their OXWaves programme, launched in May 2024, champions female (identifying) Oxford founders by connecting them with venture capital and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Support for Local Businesses

OxLEP supports Oxfordshire-based startups with free advice and support, from grant funding to events. They also run Oxfordshire’s growth hub.

EnSpire Oxford is the University of Oxford’s Entrepreneurship Hub. It offers a wealth of entrepreneurship programmes and support within the University, including experiential learning and networking opportunities.

Creative Destruction Lab-Oxford is a global startup programme for seed-stage, science-based companies. As part of the programme, experts in the fields of entrepreneurship, angel investing, economics, and science provide objective-based mentoring.

The Oxford Trust is an independent charitable trust that was established in 1985. The Trust’s mission is to encourage the pursuit of science. Our Education and Engagement programmes are run by our public-facing brand Science Oxford. Our Innovation programmes are run by the Trust.

Oxfordshire Chamber of Commerce  is a business support network that helps businesses build relationships on every level. You can access support, training and networking events. 

Success Stories

Oxford Nanopore Technologies was founded in 2005 as a spin-out from the University of Oxford. There are more than 1000 employees at the company representing a variety of disciplines including nanopore science, molecular biology and applications, informatics, engineering, electronics, manufacturing, and commercialisation. 

Sophos headquartered in Abingdon, is an IT security software and hardware company. They develop and manage security services and cybersecurity software and hardware employing over 4000 people globally.

Natural Motion Games is a video game development company. Founded in November 2001 as a spin-out company from Oxford University, NaturalMotion specialises in creating animation technology for the game and film industries.They released their first title Backbreaker Football for the iPhone in 2009, followed by NFL Rivals, My Horse, and the number one grossing & award-winning game, CSR Racing in 2012.

Why Choose Oxford?

With its thriving economy, strategic location (close to London and Cambridge), and supportive business environment, Oxford offers unparalleled opportunities for tech-based businesses looking to prosper. 


[1] and [2]: https://www.oxfordshirelep.com/

[3]: https://www.oxford.gov.uk/climate-emergency

[4]: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/oxford-cambridge-arc-local-industrial-strategies/oxfordshire-local-industrial-strategy

[5]: https://www.themgroup.co.uk/why-oxfordshire-is-a-popular-place-to-launch-a-business/